LONDON A plastic LED project has come out top of the competition in a field of 230 entries for the 2003 European Union Descartes research prize.
A consortium, led by Professor Richard Friend from the University of Cambridge, won the first prize of 700,000 euro (about US$820,000) for work done in association with researchers from Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, aimed at developing the technology to replace deposited glass- or silicon-backed displays with flexible plastic substrates.
Polymeric light-emitting diodes (PLEDs) are being developed for use in light and image display screens and could be used in a range of applications such as pliable TV and computer screens and switch-on wallpaper.
The PLED project was co-ordinated by Friend in association with researchers from Cambridge Display Technology in the UK, Materia Nova in Mons (Belgium), Linkping University (Sweden), Philips Electronics in Eindhoven and Covion Organic Semiconductors in Frankfurt-am-Main (Germany).
Prize-winners were selected from a shortlist of eight high-level finalists chosen from among the 230 research teams and 900 scientists that entered competition. Their work emphasises the crucial role played by European R&D in key science and technology fields ranging from information and computer sciences, geophysics, and life sciences, to engineering, molecular chemistry and materials engineering.
A second award of 300,000 euro (about US$350,000) was presented to a project that improves the efficiency of positioning and navigation systems.
The project set out to overcome difficulties with global positioning by satellite systems (GPS) caused by variations in the earth's rotation axis. The team offered up a new model which improves the accuracy of positioning and navigation systems from two meters to within only 2 to 3 centimeters.
Led by Professor Veronique Dehant of the Royal Observatory of Belgium, in association with researchers from France, Poland, Spain, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, the Ukraine and Russia, this project will have applications for European and international satellite systems, such as Galileo.
The Descartes Prize for outstanding scientific and technological achievements resulting from European collaborative research is named in honor of Ren Descartes: mathematician, natural scientist, and philosopher.